Economist concerned about slow disaster payments to farmers


Economist concerned about slow disaster payments to farmers

An economist with American Farm Bureau Federation says the Wildfire Hurricane Indemnity or WHIP Program has not helped farmers and ranchers in a timely fashion.  Daniel Munch tells Brownfield it’s unclear exactly when WHIP will make payments. “So, not knowing when the next round of funding will be kind of dispersed for this 2020-2021 program year, it has a lot of farmers worried about their solvency and being able to make ends meet.”

Munch says WHIP came out in 2017, and then the program was extended in 2018 and 2019, but nearly three years passed for some farmers awaiting disaster payments. 

Munch recommends farmers work closely with crop insurance providers. “Find out, maybe if you’re a dairy farmer as well, to look into some of those other insurance programs that exist out there that you can kind of retroactively enroll in or protect yourself in the future so that disaster assistance isn’t the only thing that you’re relying on.”

Munch says 2018 applicants were not able to apply until September of 2019 but they did get 100% of their payments.  He says the 2019 producers got 50% of the payments followed by 40% of their payments in June of 2021, and then the final 10% a month ago, making it hard for those farmers to recover.

Although Congress appropriated another 10-billion-dollars for WHIP + and the On-Farm Storage Loss Program, Munch says FSA doesn’t have an implementation procedure in place so payments are not likely before spring.